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The Herman Trend Alert: Boosting Business Opportunities At Airports

Now in the testing phase, VINCI Airports is experimenting with a new app called “Business in the Air,” aiming to introduce new business contacts at the airport to each other. Beginning with Lisbon and Porto, Portugal, airports, the app allows business travelers to make the most of waiting times by boosting business opportunities.

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Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at http://www.hermangroup.com/archive.html

Photo credit: iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

Business travel for many road warriors is a solo experience. Now, there are new apps and websites to connect these solo business travelers.

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A middle market innovator

To provide additional value to the passengers who travel through their airports, VINCI Airports is testing a new phone app called “Business in the Air.” VINCI is a top five global player in the international airport sector; it manages the development and operations of 35 airports, including Lyon in France, Lisbon in Portugal, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Osaka in Japan, Puerto Plata in Dominican Republic, Santiago in Chile, and its latest in Salvador, Brazil. The VINCI Airports’ network handles more than 130 million passengers annually and its airports are served by more than 170 airlines.

Now in the testing phase, Business in the Air aims to introduce new business contacts at the airport to each other. Beginning with Lisbon and Porto airports, the app allows business travelers to make the most of waiting times by boosting business opportunities.

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How the app works

Using LinkedIn profiles, passengers are now able to establish new business contacts, schedule meetings at the airport, and even check if the prospective contact will be sharing their flight.

The Portuguese Business in the Air startup was one of the four “favorite” startups of the VINCI Start-up Tour. This idea to create a community service, by connecting business people with each other, won the VINCI Airports “favorite” award in March 2016.

This launch is aligned with VINCI Airports’ open innovation long-term strategy. The chain also is dedicated to continuous efforts to improve service quality and to deliver new services to customers.

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Updates deliver new benefits

ANA (the airline) has been improving its app’s design and its features to keep its appeal and usefulness. Among the latest updates, the app now offers lounge booking, direct access to airlines’ check-in, integration into the platforms (enabling desktop and mobile navigation) and even content which adapts, according to passenger’s status.

Business in the Air features are now available in ANA’s app for Android and iOS. Following the testing phase, Business in the Air will be deployed to the entire VINCI airport network, when the tests results are successful.

Not the only travel apps

Of course, before Business in the Air, there were other websites and services to connect travelers, notably TravBuddy, which claims more than 500,000 users, and Eatwith, which connects travelers with local chefs and puts together small dinner parties.

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As solo business travelers look to maximize their time on the road, we expect this category to grow. In the U.S., hoteliers are already advertising that they create environments in which solo business travelers may meet each other and socialize. Look for the airport lounge access app LoungeBuddy, or other existing mobile apps, to extend their services to include business introductions.

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